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General Provisions for Counteracting Narcotics

E.G. Gasanov

This and many other very interesting materials have been published in the book "Drug Abuse: Tendencies and Ways to Overcome It (based on materials of the Republic of Azerbaijan)" (Мoscow: "JurInfoR" Educational and Consulting Center, 1998)


The multiplicity of drug abuse necessitates a joint combative effort involving a large number of participants who have a broad spectrum of powers and who will act simultaneously in different directions, performing a variety of functions. The joining of anti-narcotism forces can be achieved through a flexible system of measures against this deplorable social phenomenon.

Organizing a System of Measures Against Narcotics

The multifaceted nature of drug abuse necessitates forming a single united front with many participants acting simultaneously in different directions, performing various functions with a wide spectrum of measures. This can be achieved by the mobile and flexible system of measures and means. In terms of overcoming drug abuse, organization is a system of measures to combat drug abuse and means of their implementation with regard to the division of the spheres of activity, responsibilities and hierarchical order.

Based on the social and economic reality, actions against narcotics should comply with the national and international norms of law and with the scientifically based principles of management. They should take account of the new developments in medicine, pharmaceutics, psychology, psychiatry, pedagogy, sociology, instrument-building, and have substantial legislative, material, informational, and research backing. They must have clear parameters of time and space and, most importantly, professionally trained personnel.

At the same time, the anti-narcotics strategy must reflect the irksome particularities and complicated nature of this phenomenon as it combines two interrelated sides - that of illness and that of crime. This defines our approach to drug abuse as a medical, as well as a social problem and it determines what steps and means must be chosen.

Drug Abuse as an Object of Government Action

Narcotics-related issues, including organizational ones, cannot be isolated either from the social, economic, political, historical, legislative, medical, and biological problems or from other social pathologies that call for counteraction. The definition of drug abuse as a phenomenon of multiple factors is not therefore accidental[134].

Therefore, efficient counteraction requires much organization and precisely targeted moves.

Such a stance justifies the view of drug abuse as an object for state action[135].

This approach makes a broad analysis of the wide-ranging problems and ways to solve them possible. Besides, drug abuse helps to define who the subject (subjects) of influence are, its (their) condition and functioning, the influence its (their) structure projects, as well as choice of goals and function. These properties also define clear goals and a reasonable choice of means to attain them as well as to ensure an overall realization[136].

Observing the fundamental properties of drug abuse, researchers call upon us to be ready for new and unusual capability of this phenomenon to adapt to any conditions and manifest itself in new forms in most undesirable circumstances. On this occasion A.Gabiani writes: "Hardly had they banished the opium poppy, when the niche was quickly filled by common poppy. When the entire hemp-growing regions were cut off from black markets, the pharmaceutics flooded the market. The channels for natural drugs were blocked, then the far more dangerous chemicals began spreading." [137].

The specificity of drug abuse, and its forms and degree of proliferation, stress the need for a regular re-evaluation of its rapidly changing state in order to promote the methods of counteraction, discard the outlived methods, bring all techniques of exerting influence in line with the legislation and day-to-day reality. Experience proves that an objective assessment of any process demands for corrections to be made which take due notice of reality.

A system of measures to combat narcotics presupposes that its elements are mutually compatible and that the system itself can be a part of a higher order -(law enforcement and crime-prevention systems, and social administrative systems, as a whole). This means that not one subject or measure in the counter-narcotics system may contradict the values accepted by the society. The authority of the subjects must be sufficiently reflected in their rights and duties.

It is essential that all elements of the anti-narcotics system have enough potential possibilities to ensure its effective operation. The utmost goal of the organization is, in this case, to transform the potential possibilities into the real functions and make them serve as a system of counteraction measures. For example, the professional duty of medical institutions and doctors who provide treatment for drug addicts is manifested as a certain function performed by the elements of the system of counteraction to drug abuse.

A solution of the problems of drug abuse requires, on the one hand, considerable efforts by national, international and other organizations and their numerous divisions that act in different directions and focus on different target groups of people, and on the other hand, it requires coordination and accord in their activities.

The interaction of different elements of the system may be indirect, through the understanding of common objectives. This, however, requires a link in management. Such a link "is based on a certain program of action and is, in itself, a method of implementing this program. There is always a general structure of the process behind a developing operational system." [138].

General Provisions of Organizing Action Against Drug Abuse

The above mentioned makes it possible to outline the following principles of an efficiently organized effort against drug abuse in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

As the manifestations of drug abuse continue to grow and diversify, a real counteraction is possible only in the framework of a well-tested and scientifically based government policy which defines the forms, tasks and contents of the government's contribution to this effort. The understanding

of drug abuse phenomenon should be reflected in the Concept of the government policy towards narcotics. Its principal goal is to secure legislative and organizational realization of anti-narcotics efforts, bring harmony and coordination into the activities of different ministries and departments, draw up a list of priorities and concentrate the available resources for their synchronized deployment. No other document but such a Concept can lay the solid foundation for the National Program of Counteraction Against Narcotics. The Program necessarily requires an approval at the highest level by the President, the government and the parliament to make all of its provisions mandatory for everyone.

The development of the National Program stands out as one of the most important tasks among the anti-narcotics measures. It is essential to invite experts in different fields of research, as well as the practitioners from the concerned departments to participate in it. The list of participants, the scope of their duties and the financing are to be endorsed by the government. The authors of the Program have personal responsibility for producing a profound analysis of the situation with drugs, and for the efficiency of the recommended methods for combating drug abuse. They are also responsible for providing research or organizational background during the implementation of the steps they have recommended. The time frame and other specifics of the program must be included in the resolutions of the government and the parliament.

2. The main goal of the government policy in regard to narcotic substances should be: a) to prevent their use for other than medical purposes; b) curb the demand for them; c) and curtail their illegal manufacturing and turnover. This goal is attainable in practical terms only through a set of coordinated steps in politics, economy, legislation and public health. They should be directed at perfecting the laws regulating narcotics. Methods should be developed of an early identification of the persons who use drugs for non medical reasons, of their treatment and rehabilitation. Policies should be developed counteracting the unlawful production and sale of drugs at the national and international setting.

3. The mandatory measures of organizational, legislative and material support of the government policy in the field of drugs fall into two categories.

The first category implies the establishment of an inter-departmental anti-narcotics system of measures which will incorporate the following elements.

Information support of the program. The departments involved should set up a data bank to store information about the state of affairs in narcotics, the proliferation of drugs, the accurate techniques of drug identification, and other data - national and international - which will help make decisions and implement measures against narcotics.

Research and technical support. Conducting fundamental research of and quick response analysis on drugs, the development of advanced techniques and technologies of halting narcotics should be implemented.

Administrative support. The President, the parliament or the government should found a special committee entrusted with the overall monitoring of the drug abuse in the republic. This agency also should map out a uniform national strategy and tactics, direct and coordinate all the elements of the struggle against narcotics, and set up subordinate regional committees and commissions. As need be, it should be able to amend the state policy in regard to drugs. This agency surely must include psychiatrists specializing in the treatment of addicts, lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, teachers, pharmacists, journalists and other specialists and experts, as well as representatives from the ministries of public health, social welfare, education, agriculture, foreign economic ties, industry and trade, transport, telecommunications, foreign affairs, the interior, justice, finance, national security (as well as of the foreign intelligence service), air, maritime, and inland water transport, of the State Bank, Intourist, customs service, and the Prosecutor's Office.

Material support. Financing should be provided for the National Program to Counteract Drug Abuse in general and for its specific aspects. The financing structure may include specialized funds.

Medical support. A mechanism of medical interaction on the issues of drugs must involve all the agencies and departments concerned and their separate branches.

Support from the system of education. It is necessary to train an appropriate number of anti-drug specialists with due regard to the experience gained by their foreign counterparts.

Accountability. Regulated accountability and control of all the agencies and departments participating in the campaign against narcotics should be established. The participants will be furnished with special sets of documents and evaluation criteria. They will bear personal responsibility for the final results.

The second category of mandatory measures defines the direction of the effort against narcotics, sets out the target goals and names the participants. At a minimum, the main direction should be of a simultaneous offensive on the production, trade and consumption of drugs.

In the field of legislative regulation, a set of laws on combating narcotics should encompass a) perfection of the effective legal acts on drugs, b) the legally defined rules of identification, check-up and voluntary/compulsory treatment of drug addicts, c) the rules of drug identification, d) legislative support of international cooperation including the obligations that arise from the international treaties and agreements, e) elaboration of legal norms to fight drug-related money-laundering, f) and bringing national legislation in line with the international laws.

In the field of medicine: the identification, medical treatment and social rehabilitation of drug addicts presupposes improving the methods of early diagnosis and treatment of addiction, the development of prophylactic measures, a system of registering and monitoring drug abusers, the gathering and analysis of information and information exchange between relevant departments.

In the sphere of combating drug-related crimes, it is essential to suppress the illegal cultivation of plants containing narcotic substances, improve control over the transportation of narcotics across borders, and curb their clandestine manufacture. It is also necessary to control the manufacturing, storage and trade in the chemicals and equipment which may be used in the illegal production of drugs. The stamping-out of such crimes necessitates stringent regulatory mechanisms in the production, transportation and use of narcotic substances for medical and research purposes, as required by the international conventions, advancement of investigative methods, improvement in the customs service, administrative and other forms of curtailing crimes linked to drugs and limiting the illegal demand for them. The circle of involved participants in actions against narcotics, especially in the field of prophylactics and halting the spread of drug abuse should be enlarged through unconventional forms and methods of work, such as invigorating the efforts of religious and charitable organizations, private companies, psychological aid centers, army units, and so on.

Understandably, the suggested list of efforts is not exhaustive. Nonetheless, it puts the emphasis on the main directions and can be viewed as a version of a multifaceted approach toward organizing a program of action combating drug abuse.

The Experience of Other Countries

The experience of countries that have developed national programs against drug abuse can be very instrumental in drawing up a national anti-narcotics program.

In 1982, the United States adopted a program against drug trafficking and organized crime. Its implementation presumed mapping out a special presidential policy and the participation of the governors of all the states.

The USA

The then US President Ronald Reagan sanctioned the allocation of an additional USD 130 million to the Department of Justice budget for the implementation of that program. These funds were distributed to the federal law-enforcement agencies, the judiciary, penitentiaries and the police. The administration envisioned an increase in the number of prosecutors, FBI agents, and the personnel of anti-drug departments, customs services, the coast guards, Internal Revenue Service, Immigration Naturalization Service, and other departments.

More than a half of the allocation was set aside as salary and bonuses for special service agents. The rest was spent on modernizing police equipment, the renovation of the state and federal prisons, and enhancement of the FBI technical capabilities in neutralizing criminals who can afford the most up-to-date listening devices and surveyance equipment.

The program also made provisions for creating special regional task force, and creating programs for participation in actions against drug abuse by the state, as well as for more room in federal jails. Coordination committees responsible to the Secretary of Justice were established in all of the 94 Federal judicial districts. The committees were obliged to make up plans for fighting grave crimes at the county, state and national levels.

It was for the first time that a program envisioned deployment of the armed forces against the spread of drugs. Their task was to detect and detain traffickers, especially at the US-Mexican border and in the Caribbean[139].

A variety of drug prevention programs were developed at the regional level, such as the program of aid to potential abusers and their victims in the District of Columbia or the program against the abuse of drugs and alcohol by adolescents in Maryland. Many of them, however, remained ineffective[140] not because they lacked professionalism, but more often because the moves lacked coordination. Not rare was the shortage of financing, technical and personnel support.

In 1989, the US adopted the national strategy against drugs which is executed by more than thirty federal departments, including the CIA. American experts believe that the US share of the worldwide consumption of drugs is more than a fifty per cent. They also consider drug trafficking as a global threat which cannot be controlled by the efforts of a single country. There must be international cooperation to settle this bedeviling problem.

Since the bulk of drugs originate outside the US, the Administration put an emphasis on attacking drug dealers on their home territory and on stepping up counteraction to the proliferation and sale of drugs inside the country. The strategy evidently has flaws as the situation shows no signs of dramatic improvement.

Canada

On May 25th, 1987, the Canadian government officially introduced a national strategy against drug abuse. The strategy had resulted from long consultations with provincial governments, different private organizations and individual specialists. The goal of the strategy was to shape a unified course of actions against the abuse of drugs in Canada[141].

The general supervision of its implementation was vested in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Other participants were the Royal Mounted Police of Canada, the Directorate of the Penitentiaries, the Ministry of Justice, the Customs Department and the Excise Tax Service, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Training and Youth.

The main goal was to work out a balanced line of action that would meet the needs of all Canadians, bring down the impact of alcohol and other stimulants on individuals, families and entire communities. The strategy comprised six directions of action: 1)education and prevention, 2)control over law abidance, 3) medical treatment and rehabilitation, 4) gathering of information and research, 5) international cooperation 6) and national policy. Over two-thirds of the resources were directed into the educational, preventive and treatment programs to curtail demand on the banned substances.

The Royal Mounted Police had the assignment to help develop and implement five initiatives on restraining the supply of and the demand for drugs, namely 1) a program to curb the black marketing of drugs, 2) the coordination of coastal guard patrol, 3) the gathering and processing of data on drugs, 4) technical assistance to foreign countries and 5) an educational program.

Canadian experts note that it is hard to measure the effects of this program yet, but all the above measures contribute to saving lives and making the nation healthier.

The United Kingdom

The British government is acting upon a multifaceted anti-narcotic strategy that it adopted in 1994. There are five strategic priority aspects in it 1) cutting down drug imports, 2) raising the efficiency of law enforcement, 3) exercising effective deterrence measures and strict control inside the country, 4) organizing preventive efforts, and improving the treatment and 5) the rehabilitation of drug addicts[142].

The government strategy is based on the assumption that all the problems of narcotics are inter-related. Therefore, parallel measures against the supply and demand of drugs are necessary. It is intended to scale down illegal imports of drugs by supporting international efforts against their manufacture and trade, reinforcing the customs and police force, toughening control over the legitimate production, and consumption of drugs for medical purposes, deterring drug dealers by heavy fines and depriving them of their illegal profits.

The struggle to curtail demand must follow two general lines - keeping the new addicts from abuse and rendering aid to those who have developed addiction.

To ensure proper interaction of all the elements of this strategy, the British government has set up a working inter-departmental group from among the ministers and high-ranking executives. The group is headed by the parliamentary deputy home secretary. Also participating in its work are officials of the home office, the ministries of health, social welfare, and finance, the customs service, the department of overseas territories, the environmental department, and so on.

The new government-run intelligence service for drugs has replaced the older drugs central intelligence. The government-run intelligence is staffed by police and customs officers. Its duty is to gather, analyze and distribute information obtained either abroad or at home.

The regional anti-drug departments have special support units. The customs service has been reinforced by top-class specialists and top-notch smuggling clamp-down equipment. In compliance with the 1986 law on illegal drug trade, the police and the courts have received broader authority as to the identification, freezing and confiscation of drug dealers' profits. In 1988 the UK and the USA signed a bilateral agreement on the confiscation of the discredited bank assets.

The police and the customs service have formed a special financial division to accumulate on a national scale, survey and pass down for further investigation the data on financial issues, i.e. reports from the banks and other financial institutions on monetary deposits of questionable origin.

The government has outlined the procedure for police operations against the three categories of drug dealers, big, medium and small[143].

Great Britain upholds the international community's efforts by contributing annually Pound Sterling 150,000 to the UN Fund for Drug Abuse Control. As mentioned before, the UK also runs a program of assistance to overseas projects.

Regarding the drug abuse situation, a review of the government measures underlines that the government-sponsored policy works toward a closer international cooperation, enhances the efforts of the law-enforcement agencies, helps the younger generation realize the impact of drug addiction and boosts the effort against this evil.

Mexico

The drug control programs in Mexico differ from those in other countries as Mexico is a hotbed of manufacture and export of opium, heroin and marijuana and a major cocain trafficking transit point to the United States. Some Mexican states have traditional plantations of opium poppy, marijuana and Indian hemp. Economic hardships often force the farmers into dealing with drug dealers and prompt the growing of illegal crops which produce profits higher than the earnings from lawful businesses. The anti-drug programs, therefore, focus on mass destruction of narcotic crops from the air or manually and the involvement of army units in such operations, harsh penal sanctions, intensive investigation of drug cartels and trafficking channels, and dissemination of information among the public[144].

Growing cooperation with the USA on the basis of bilateral agreements and a treaty of juridical assistance is an important element of the anti-narcotic policy. It facilitates the identification of drug-related money-laundering in the financial and commercial institutions both in Mexico and the US. The Advance Guard program presupposes operations to detect and destroy the plantations of drug-bearing crops. Starting from 1986, units of the Mexican Army and of the US Coastal Guard have been conducting operations to detain suppliers of drugs in the Mexican territorial waters, to confiscate their cars and arms, and to control flights in the border area as part of the American Mexican operation Alliance.

Spain

The national program against drug abuse in Spain deserves notice as the Spanish laws permit soft narcotic substances. Despite the expectations and arguments of the proponents of drug legalization, drug abuse in Spain does not subside. Neither does the crime rate. The number of violent assaults to obtain money for drugs is on the rise. The law-enforcement agencies' task has been set as eradicating drug abuse, opening specialized medical centers for the addicts who volunteer to undergo treatment, and combating drug addiction and prostitution as the factors increasing the risk of AIDS infection.

The main goals of the Spanish program against drug abuse are to halt the proliferation of the most heinous drugs like heroin and cocain, organize prophylactic measures among the young people of 16-to-18, promulgate popular knowledge about medicine and treatment of drug addicts by way of educational lectures, and advance public organizations' activities[145].

France

The French national program against narco-business sponsored by the Ministry of the Interior and Public Safety focuses on curbing the illegal trade in drugs, and, in particular, the street vending of narcotic substances. The document provides for the creation of special-task police units and a national center to coordinate all police operations against drug abuse. Narco-business-suppression training courses have been introduced at police schools. Large police commissariats now have specialized branches to monitor drug abuse. These branches render practical and financial assistance to various organizations engaged in fighting against the abuse of narcotic and toxic chemical substances[146].

The experience of foreign anti-narcotics programs can be adapted to the requirements of the Republic of Azerbaijan and help work out a feasible National Program of Comprehensive Counteraction to Narcotics


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